Bibliotheca Hertziana – Max Planck Institute of Art History

The Bibliotheca Hertziana, Max Planck Institute of Art History, is a research institute of the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science (MPG ), based in Rome, Italy.


The " Bibliotheca Hertziana " was founded in 1913 under the direction of Ernst Steinmann in Rome. The Institute resided first in the Palazzo Zuccari, to be the patron of the arts Henriette Hertz (1846-1913), together with its art historical library, an inventory of 5,000 books, bequeathed Kaiser Wilhelm Society testament to the determination, a research institute for art and cultural history build. Focus of the Institute was to explore the Italian and Roman art of the post-antique, especially the Renaissance and Baroque periods.

In 1934 the company was renamed in " Kaiser- Wilhelm- Institute for Art and Cultural Studies ( Bibliotheca Hertziana ) " and the establishment of Art History and Cultural Studies Department for the Study of the interactions between Germany and Italy. In 1938, a re- renamed " Kaiser- Wilhelm- Institute for Art and Cultural Studies at the Palazzo Zuccari " to repay according to the Nazi ideology, the memory of the Jewish founder.

As of 1943, the Library and the Institute to Merano, Hallein and Saalfelden was relocated. The Palazzo Zuccari in 1944 confiscated by Allied military.

In 1953, the Institute of the Max Planck Society was passed and as Bibliotheca Hertziana ( Max Planck Institute ) continued, since the history of architecture will be given special attention. The focus of the book stock of the history of Italian art from the Middle Ages to modern times. The book collection currently contains approximately 260,000 volumes.

Directors of the Bibliotheca Hertziana

  • Ernst Steinmann (1914-1934)
  • Leo Bruhns (1934-1953)
  • Werner Hoppenstedt (1938-1945)
  • Franz Graf Wolff -Metternich (1954-1962)
  • Wolfgang Lotz (1962-1980)
  • Otto Lehmann- Brockhaus (1967-1977)
  • Matthias Winner (1977-1999)
  • Christoph Luitpold Frommel (1980-2001)
  • Elisabeth Kieven (since 1999)
  • Sybille Ebert- Schifferer (since 2001)


The Bibliotheca Hertziana today consists of three major buildings: the Palazzo Zuccari, which was expanded at the expense of the former gardens in the 19th and 20th century with the famous Hell's Mouth, which in 1963 bought the Palazzo Stroganoff and the Villino Stroganoff, both originally owned by the Count Gregori Stroganoff.

The space in the existing building was no longer adequate for the growing book collection and for building and fire protection deficiencies it has always been threatened with closure. Therefore, it was decided to build the gutted in the 1960s expansion tract while preserving the historic facades new. 1995 an international architectural competition was launched. Among the eight participants in the design of the Spaniard Juan Navarro Baldeweg was selected. The construction started in 2003 was completed in 2012 and is since January 2013 as the library and research operations are available. The reconstruction, which is not visible from the outside, provides users inside a " funnel of light."


The Bibliotheca Hertziana are several publication series out since about 1983, the " Roman Studies" ( 2013 33 volumes) and the Roman yearbook.

Work areas

The current areas of work include:

  • Art of the 4th to 14th century
  • Afterlife of antiquity
  • Art in Rome, 15th to 20th century
  • Architecture and architectural theory outside Rome, 13th to 20th century
  • Italian architectural drawing; Architectural drawing database lineamenta
  • Sculpture and Decorative Arts
  • Painting, drawing, graphics, 15th to 20th century
  • Strategies of early modern representation

Since 1990, the Hertziana every two years to the Hanno and Ilse Hahn Prize " for outstanding services to the Italian History of Art " in recognition and to promote young art historian ( inside).


Key partners of the Bibliotheca Hertziana include the Vatican Museums, the German Archaeological Institute in Rome, the German Historical Institute in Rome, and also the Historical Institute at the Austrian Cultural Institute in Rome, the Netherlands Institute in Rome, the Académie de France à Rome (Villa Medici ) and the Superintendence ai Beni Artistici, the Kunsthistorisches Institute in Florence, but also the Warburg Institute in London and the Central Institute for Art History in Munich.


The Institute is headed by the directors Sybille Ebert- Schifferer and Elisabeth Kieven which alternate every two years in management.

The end of 2006 a total of 104 employees at the institute, including 13 scientists and 22 junior researchers; to 13 were externally funded and 5 visiting scholars during the year.